The road to hell and back. How ice and courage saved tens of thousands of lives

The plot of the Great Patriotic War

80 years ago, & nbsp; November 22, 1941, the first trucks drove across the ice of Lake Ladoga, carrying bread to the inhabitants of the besieged Leningrad dying of hunger. & nbsp;

This path will be called the Road life. Food and fuel were transported to Leningrad, & nbsp; and back, to the mainland, & nbsp; evacuated & nbsp; exhausted residents, primarily children and women. & Nbsp;

& nbsp; Secret Russian weapon

And also & nbsp; super-secret cargo was transported along it. In the besieged city, factories did not stop working. The legendary Katyusha was made here, which terrified the Germans. & Nbsp; Production of Katyusha. in Leningrad put on the conveyor at the beginning of 1942. In the conditions of the strictest secrecy, shells, lifting and control mechanisms were made here, & nbsp; which arrived on other fronts & nbsp; also along the Road of Life. The new Russian weapons stunned the Nazis. Until the end of the war, the Nazis tried in vain to unravel this military invention. But they could not, as well as unravel other Russian weapons & mdash; & nbsp; the fortitude of the inhabitants of the besieged city, thanks to which they did not & nbsp; surrender & nbsp; the city. & Nbsp;

Winter came early in 1941. Along the very first ice that pinned Ladoga & nbsp; already & nbsp; in the first half of November, & nbsp; first, teams of horses with carts, on which sacks of flour were transported to Leningrad. & Nbsp; And & nbsp; by November 22 & nbsp; the ice was strong enough to support the weight cars, & nbsp; & mdash; & nbsp; this number became & nbsp; the official date of the opening of the Ice Road of Life. & nbsp;

Driver Igor Trofimov, which was on that very first flight on November 22, 1941, & nbsp; in the early & nbsp; 2000s recalled in an interview that & nbsp; the first caravan of 12 cars left the ice of the lake, and returned from flight 8. Some of the cars & nbsp; nevertheless fell into the openings , others & mdash; became the target of enemy bombers. German planes mercilessly bombed the icy track. For camouflage purposes, the cars were painted white, and a white coating was made for horses and carts. And also & nbsp; the drivers kept the cab door wide open during the movement & mdash; & nbsp; in order to jump out of the car if necessary, and not go with it to the bottom. The ice of Lake Ladoga has an insidious character. Even being thick, & nbsp; it can crack, cracks are formed, which in a few hours expand to & nbsp; 2-3 & nbsp; meters. & Nbsp; There were people on the road around the clock who closed the formed water cracks with wooden bridges. & Nbsp;

& nbsp; Every fourth did not return from the flight

In total, more than 4 thousand cars were involved on the Road of Life. & Nbsp; And every fourth driver did not return from the flight. As the poet Olga Bergolts, who survived the blockade, wrote: “They didn’t yet know a more terrible and joyful road on earth.” In clear weather, in clear water, you can still see the skeletons of blockade trucks, which lie at the bottom of the largest lake in Europe since the winter of 1941 & nbsp;

The first convoy of vehicles delivered 33 tons of flour to Leningrad. And the city, even with an insignificant norm of 125 grams of bread per person, consumed 500 tons per day. Food supplies remained for a couple of days. Upon learning of this, the drivers began to compete to see who would make the most flights. Trofimov recalled that, on average, they made two round-trip flights a day. We slept & nbsp; maximum & nbsp; 6 hours. There have been fewer. And in order not to fall asleep, a bowler hat was hung in the cockpit & mdash; & nbsp; if the driver began to nod off, the bowler hat hit on the head. & Nbsp;

& nbsp; A cannon cutlet

In the winter of 1941-42 … in besieged Leningrad, a monstrous mortality reigned. 4.5 thousand people died every day. Siegewoman Zinaida Dmitrievna Koroleva she recalled how in 1942 her relatives passed away one after another. First my younger brother, then my mother: “She just looked at & nbsp; me, as if she wanted to say something, and & nbsp; died. I & nbsp; the body in & nbsp; sew up a sheet, and & nbsp; next to is a 5-year-old sister, bothers me, crying and & nbsp; shouts: & ldquo; Mom! Mom! & Rdquo; & raquo; & nbsp; Dad died a day later. Then my 14-year-old sister passed away. '' For & nbsp; ten days, Zinaida lost & nbsp; almost all relatives. & Nbsp; In a television interview at the beginning of the 2000s, she & nbsp; recalled how dogs and cats disappeared in the city. Once she went to her acquaintances and there an unprecedented treat awaited her – a tiny cutlet. After everyone got up from the table, the hostess said that it was Fluff, the family's cat. and women. By April 1942, 500,000 people had been evacuated.

& nbsp; Everyone was standing in the cars

Lake Ladoga turned into a powerful transport hub, where transshipment stations and heating points were organized. More than 300 thousand people were involved in the maintenance and operation of the Road of Life. & Nbsp;

A special technology was developed. 60-70 cars drove along the same track, after which the ice & nbsp; in this place lost strength. Allowing him to get stronger, & nbsp; the track was closed for a while and started to move along the other. And so they alternated. & Nbsp; Special battalions were formed, which pulled the fallen cars out of the water. & Nbsp;

In the first blockade winter, the ice Road of Life operated until the beginning of April. & Nbsp; Eyewitnesses recalled that in the first days April 1942 trucks were driving on melting ice on a body in the water. One of the passengers & nbsp; in the spring of 1942 was a little & nbsp; Elena & nbsp; Obraztsova & mdash; & nbsp; future world famous opera singer. She said that the back of the truck was packed with children and parents so that they were driving while standing.

With the melting of the ice, the movement along the Road of Life stopped. And it continued at the end of May & nbsp; with the opening of navigation. Barges were required to continue evacuating residents. As a matter of urgency, 100 ships were built at a shipyard in Leningrad – self-propelled barges with a capacity of 25 people, in practice, during evacuation, twice as many were placed in the holds. The route through Ladoga, 30 km long, took 3 hours due to the low speed of the barges – about 11 km/h.

& nbsp; Love that drives out fear

The Nazis, under whose noses the Road of Life passed, furiously & nbsp; bombed & nbsp; caravans of cars, and then ships. & nbsp; 60 Luftwaffe bombers were sent on a mission at once. The bombs turned the sky black. So the commander of Army Group North Georgy von Küchler kept his promise to Hitler that even a bird would not be able to fly over Lake Ladoga. Birds and & nbsp; really stopped flying. And people continued to move. & Nbsp;

Those who got to land & nbsp; arrived at the fishing village of Kobona, on the other side of Lake Ladoga. From here they were sent further to the mainland. But first there was rest. It took place within the walls of the Church of St. Nicholas the Wonderworker. This temple in the 30s was closed by the Soviet authorities. And in 1942 he opened its doors so that under its age-old stone vaults, adults and children, exhausted by hunger, cold, bombing and shelling, could find rest. There was the largest evacuation point for the newly rescued people, where medical assistance, hot food and tea awaited them. An unprecedented luxury for the residents of the besieged city.

It is symbolic that when the temple was returned to the Russian Orthodox Church in 1998, the first service after the restoration took place on the anniversary of the beginning of the siege of Leningrad & mdash; & nbsp; September 8, 2003. & nbsp;

A bell ringing floated across Lake Ladoga & mdash; & nbsp; as a memory and a sign that God has no dead. And the Road of Life was built only & nbsp; because in that hell people did not lose the ability to sacrifice themselves for the sake of others, leaving us, descendants, an example of love, that perfect love, & nbsp; that casts out fear. & Nbsp;

“Everyone died. There is only Tanya left. ” Diaries of besieged Leningrad

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“Everyone died. There is only Tanya left. ” Diaries of besieged Leningrad

© AiF Collage

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© AiF Collage

© AiF Collage

© Collage AiF

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